Mark's Gospel

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The First Prediction of the Passion

(Mark 8:31 - 38)

Immediately after Peter's declaration of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus swore his disciples to secrecy. He then began to tell them what his claim to Messiahship would mean, namely, suffering and death, to be followed by the Resurrection. Peter tries to dissuade him. Peter is probably still thinking of an all conquering Messiah who would rid Palestine of the Romans once and for all. The disciples still cherished popular ideas of what the Messiah would be. They would have to reject military and political ambitions and accept the principles of the Kingdom of God. They needed to be ready to pay the high price of discipleship.

After predicting his own suffering and death, Jesus warns his disciples that anyone who wishes to follow him must 'take up his Cross'. He interprets his messiahship in terms of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. This would have had particular significance for Mark's original readers who were actually being crucified in Rome.

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